by Niall Doherty

“Don’t think about all those things you feel, just be glad to feel.” – FC Kahuna, Hayling

It took me almost ten minutes to get down those stairs. She lived on the ninth floor, and we’d just said goodbye. We expected we’d see each other again, but there was a finality to the relationship in that moment. We both knew it.

Part of me wanted to be a manly man, a tough guy, there on those stairs. That part of me didn’t want to cry, didn’t want to acknowledge the sadness.

But I chose to let go. I cried there on those stairs. Blubbed like a baby for a few minutes.

And I felt it right in my chest and in my gut.

And it was beautiful, in a strange sort of way.

I get the impression that many of you are counting down the days. You’re on the verge of taking your own leap, on the brink of breaking free. And the wait is killing you. You’re already dreaming of what comes next, the wheels are already in motion, the leap is inevitable, and in the meantime you’re trying your best to ignore your current, unwanted reality. You’d gladly push fast-forward if you could.

Here’s the thing: I don’t believe you can daydream your way out of experiencing the bad, and still expect to be fully there for the good.

I try to be fully there for everything: the ups, the downs, and all that happens in between.

  • The awkward moment when you try to strike up conversation with an attractive stranger and get shot down.
  • The magic moment when you punch that one-way ticket and feel like the whole wide world is your playground.
  • The tearful moment when you’re saying goodbye to a loved one you likely won’t see again for several years.
  • The timeless moment when you get completely lost in the sound of a saxaphone at The Spotted Cat on a November afternoon.
  • The depressing moment when shit doesn’t turn out as you’d hoped, or takes much longer than you wanted it to.
  • The reassuring moment when you make your first $1000 online in a month.
  • The disappointing moment when there is no third date, even though you were sure the first two went really fucking well.
  • The thrilling moment when your favorite sports team slays a goliath in the final minute, and you’re right there in the building.
  • Those long last few weeks in your mundane and uninspiring 9-to-5, before you get started on the adventure of a lifetime.

I believe a life well lived is not an endlessly happy life. Rather, such a life will include heartbreak and loss and sadness and elation and depression and joy and loneliness and the whole damn spectrum of human emotion. Preferably not in quick succession of course 😉

So, on that stairwell, I stopped and I cried. I let that sadness rip through me. I felt alive in those moments, just as much as I do when experiencing pure happiness.

You’ll have highs and lows, and I encourage you to be fully present for all of those moments, not just the best of them. Instead of trying to escape to your happy place all the time, lean into the discomfort when it comes around. Feel it thoroughly, and then let it go.

Because whatever moment you find yourself in, know and appreciate that you’ll never be there again, and even the worst of them are beautiful in a strange sort of way.